No Ordinary Airport Fare


Ulster Artisans Airport Shop

Barbara Collins introduces The Taste of Ulster Shop, a great artisan food and drink initiative at Belfast International Airport

Most Duty Free shops across the world are fairly generic. The same big brands appear time after time and small producers don’t tend to get a look in. Not so at Belfast International Airport where almost thirty artisan food and drink companies are selling their products. It is a joint venture between Lagadere Travel Retail, Belfast International Airport and Food NI, the organisation responsible for Taste of Ulster.

The Taste of Ulster shop is located within the Aelia Duty Free shopping complex in the Departures zone. Aelia is part of Lagardère, one of the world’s biggest operators of airport duty free shops. The shop was officially opened last month by the Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell and Amaury Dehen, managing director of Lagardère Travel Retail UK and Ireland.

“We believe it to be essential that our retail operations represent the best local merchandise available and contribute to economic well-being. The shop offers smaller companies access to almost three million passengers. The airport expects to be handling 4.9 million passengers” said Mr Dehen. “The Taste of Ulster shop represents a significant development of the relationship that we have had with several Northern Ireland businesses over many years.

“We’ve now extended this engagement to embrace Northern Ireland’s developing artisan food and drink sector, a sector including many companies which have achieved great recognition in international and national awards.”

Mr Bell said: “We are lucky to have such a fantastic array of fresh ingredients, a wide range of eating places, talented chefs, artisan producers and indeed a flourishing foodie culture here in Northern Ireland.

“With 2016 being designated the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink there has been no better time to showcase all that is great about local produce. The launch of the first Taste of Ulster range, by Food NI, within the Aelia Duty Free store at Belfast International airport will help both tourists and visitors to discover the great tastes of Northern Ireland.”

Northern Ireland companies featured in the Taste of Ulster Shop at Belfast International Airport

• Abernethy Butter, Dromara – handmade butters
• Ann’s Pantry, Larne – breads and cakes
• Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil, Limavady – rapeseed oils
• Eleanor Craig’s Fudge, Larne – handmade fudge
• Eringrove, Enniskillen – jams and chutneys
• Farmview Dairies, Belfast – dairy products including Kearney Blue Cheese
• Gracehill Fine Foods, Ballymena – black and white puddings
• Hannan Meats, Moira – beef, bacon and ham
• Harnetts Oils, Waringstown – rapeseed and other culinary oils
• Johnsons Coffee, Lisburn – roasted coffee
• Kennedys Bacon, Omagh – bacon, gammon and ham
• Made with Love, Donaghadee – jams and relishes
• NorthCoast Smokehouse, Ballymena – smoked salmon and condiments
• Our Daily Bread, Belfast –wheaten and soda bread and bread mixes
• Papas Mineral Company, Bangor – traditional Northern Irish minerals
• Passion Preserved, Lisburn – relishes and chutneys
• PopNotch Popcorn, Draperstown – popcorn
• Punjana, Belfast – tea blends
• Suki Teahouse, Belfast – loose leaf tea and fruit infusions
• The Chocolate Manor, Coleraine – chocolates

Several Northern Ireland producers of spirits have been included by Aelia in the duty free. They are:

• Echlinville Distillery, Kircubbin– Dunville Irish Whiskey
• Hughes Craft Distillery, Lisburn – RubyBlue Irish Potato Vodka and fruit liqueurs
• Jawbox, Belfast – Gin
• Niche Drinks, Derry – The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey
• Rademon Craft Distillery, Crossgar – Shortcross Gin


Barbara CollinsBarbara Collins is a freelance food, travel and agricultural writer. She contributes regularly to Countryfile magazine, the Farmers Guardian, the Irish News, FFT and the Irish Mail on Sunday. She was Chief Food Writer for Flavour magazine. She is a member of both the UK and Irish Food Writers Guilds and splits her time between Belfast and Galway. Barbara also does menu consultancy and copywriting.


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